What the World Needs Now is Socialism
By Bonnie Weinstein
Ghost Ship is Our Triangle Fire
By Alexander Billet and Adam Turl
Now you can view the content of this issue of Socialist Viewpoint in electronic format on your Kindle, iPad or any other Reader that supports the PDF format.
Answer to Michael Moore: We ain't Gonna Play the Game No More!
By Bonnie Weinstein
Abu Graib Comes to Amerika (Expanded)
By Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness
By Chris Hedges
and Laila Al-Arian
The End of State-Socialism and The Future of Marxism
By Dr. Nasir Khan
What the World Needs Now is Socialism
Democracy, economic and social equality for all on a world scale
Lets get this straight; the USA was NEVER a democracy. This country was founded on the mass murder of tens-of-millions of native Indians that inhabited this land. U.S. capitalists fortressed this invasion on the backs of slaves captured from the African continent and forcefully put to work on the plantations owned by the white man; the annexation of most of Mexico’s territory and the slaughter of its native inhabitants; all of Alaska and Hawaii; and on the backs of workers in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
The new, white rulers were all men. Their “democracy” was only among white, male property owners. Even white women didn’t get the vote until 1920. African Americans were not allowed to somewhat-freely exercise their right to vote until August 6, 1965! And tens-of-thousands who have been convicted of a felony have lost the right to vote altogether. And those incarcerated still work as slaves for capitalist enterprise.
Capitalism is a deadly military dictatorship
According to the Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” count, that is updated daily,1 963 people have been shot and killed by police in 2016! The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our communities are occupied by a super-militarized police force. Our public schools are crumbling and overcrowded. Our healthcare and college education is un-affordable for most people. We have no say as to whether or not to use our precious resources to go to war and manufacture weapons of mass destruction. We have no say of what we must pay for housing, food, clothing, energy, water, access to the Internet, garbage pickup—everything we are charged is dictated by the wealthy, capitalist elite—including taxes! They make the laws that benefit them, at our expense. They don’t pay the bulk of taxes, we do.
It is a world built upon the enslavement of the working class. That’s what capitalism is, the military-enforced enslavement of workers for the benefit of the capitalist class. That’s who the capitalist candidates in every country represent and give their allegiance to.
Workers’ power is based upon our unity and solidarity for a better world for all
The capitalists promote class, racial, religious, ethnic, gender and educational divides to keep us fighting amongst each other, the purpose of which is to make us blind to our overwhelming common needs and interests. This is how they preserve their power and control over the profits we working people create with our labor.
None of us have the right to vote for what we want; we only have the right to vote between the candidates the wealthy elite present to us—their candidates.
A real democracy is when working people get to decide the issues that affect our lives; like whether or not healthcare should be free and available to all; which, by the way, is what the majority of people in this country want! And all the other issues that effect our lives like wages, housing, education, maintaining a healthy environment on our land, in our homes, and in our workplaces, and bringing an end to the destructive wars that further divide and oppress us.
Capitalism is an irrational system designed to increase the rate of profits for the wealthy by any means necessary—including robbing us of our basic human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Under capitalism, workers are only entitled to what we can pay for. Our earnings are dictated only by how hard we fight for them. Nothing is given to us that we haven’t had to fight for!
The choices the American working class had in the so-called “democratic electoral process” have become the epitome of lesser-evil politics and the opposite of democracy. The capitalist class and their money dictate our electoral choices—insuring that we have no say in the decision-making that will actually control our lives.
The 2016 presidential electoral campaign had everything—a so-called Socialist contender, Bernie Sanders, who lead rebellious youth right back to the camp of Hillary Clinton; the Green Party campaign that led a reform campaign for capitalism that failed to bring about any reforms. And, in fact, the Green Party raised $7 million for a recount of the vote for Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—firmly aligning them with the Democratic Party!
An independent, working class party can never align itself with the parties of the capitalist class! That is an oxymoron.
And what did we get? The election of Donald Trump, idiot and political “new-comer”—a demagogue that appealed to a populous sick and tired of the status quo, yet still divided along racial, religious, ethnic, gender, educational and class lines—those who still believe that what’s good for capitalism is good for them.
Workers’ future under capitalism is dismal
According to a December 6, 2016 New York Times article by Patricia Cohen titled, “A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S.,”
“Stagnant wages have sliced the share of income collected by the bottom half of the population to 12.5 percent in 2014, from 20 percent of the total in 1980. Where did that money go? Essentially, to the top one percent, whose share of the nation’s income nearly doubled to more than 20 percent during that same 34-year period. Average incomes grew by 61 percent. But nearly $7 out of every additional $10 went to those in the top tenth of the income scale. Inequality has soared over that period. In 1980, the researchers found, someone in the top one percent earned on average $428,200 a year—about 27 times more than the typical person in the bottom half, whose annual income equaled $16,000. ...Today, half of American adults are still pretty much earning that same $16,000 on average—in 1980 dollars, adjusted for inflation—while members of the top one percent now bring home $1,304,800—81 times as much.”
Clearly we are in a life and death struggle. Our living conditions and the planet itself are being assaulted by the capitalist system from all directions—all to make a bigger profit! The planet is on the verge of catastrophic climate change due to capitalism’s thoughtless plunder of the environment that will devastate the poorest among us first.
Socialism—an economy based upon production for need and want, and not profit—is the only solution
It is up to us to turn all this around because it is in the interests of the vast majority of humanity and the other co-habitants of our planet to do so. It’s our only hope for the future. If we don’t take charge of these things ourselves the capitalist system will continue along its inevitable path to environmental destruction.
The fact is, capitalism is a totally insufficient, dying system. It is chaotic and wasteful, both in human terms and the environment. Nothing is planned rationally according to what people and the planet need to thrive. Its only plan is to increase the rate of profit for the rich. All social needs under capitalism are an impediment to that goal.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is an alternative to capitalism.
Socialism is a rational alternative to capitalism—a real democratic alternative—that guarantees basic human rights to everyone on an equal basis. Guaranteeing that everyone has the right to food, housing, education and healthcare is paramount to democracy. In fact, economic and social equality is the essence of democracy and the antithesis of capitalism.
Cuba and socialism
This was brought home to me upon the death of Fidel Castro and the massive outpouring of the Cuban people to mourn him.
The U.S. mainstream media demonized Castro as a bloodthirsty dictator who ruled Cuba with an iron hand—a dictator who kept his people starving, without basic freedoms, and under strict military rule.
If you listened and believed this propaganda you would think the people of Cuba would be dancing in the streets upon his death. It happened in Miami among Cuban dissidents of the revolution, but that did not happen in Cuba.
In a December 3, 2016 New York Times photo essay by Thomas Munita, Mauricio Lima and Azam Ahmed titled, “A Nation in Mourning: Images of Cuba After Fidel Castro,” one of the photos in particular struck me. It was a photo of Cuban military personnel standing on the side of the road waiting for Fidel’s ashes to pass by. Hundreds-of-thousands of people did the same.
But what really struck me was that the military personnel were completely unarmed! In fact, it occurred to me at that moment that in all the nine days of news photos of the masses of Cuban people out in the streets to morn the passing of Fidel you see no armed military or police; no armored tanks with sharp-shooters on their gun turrets as we’ve seen commonly on the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland—and on the plains of North Dakota! No police helicopters flying overhead! No riots! No shootouts!
In fact, there has never been such a scene here in the U.S. Here the local police are armed to the teeth with military-grade armor and weapons watching us at all times!
Even the vehicle carrying the ashes of Fidel was open and unarmed!
The only way this could happen is that the Cuban people are overwhelmingly and fundamentally in support of their revolution.
The Cuban example
Cuba is a very poor country. They have suffered over 50 years of a U.S. embargo that prevented them from trading for goods and services their tiny country could not provide on its own. Yet while the Cuban people are poor, Cuba manages to provide them with certain inalienable rights. Food, housing, healthcare and education are considered rights in Cuba. And their education is not limited to “common core” subjects. Cuban children can pursue the arts, sports, the sciences, free of charge from preschool to advanced University degrees. Cuba has one of the largest medical schools in the world with students from around the world as well as Cubans. Everyone is guaranteed housing. No one goes hungry or homeless.
They have a different decision-making process than we do. They decide on policy and issues on the job, in their communities and at their schools.
The only way that hundreds-of-thousands of people can take to the streets of their own accord, without any armed military or police force towering over them, in mourning of the leader of their revolution, is if the Cuban people think of the government as their government—functioning for their common good, and in the interests of all Cubans.
One man or government cannot dictate over its people without a massive military and police force like the United States must have to keep the power in the hands of its wealthy elite.
The Cuban people respected Fidel because he fought to bring economic and social equality to his country as best they could under the circumstances.
The images of the massive, peaceful turnout of Cubans mourning the loss of Fidel speak for themselves! Clearly the “dictatorial” Cuban government didn’t feel the need to bear arms against its own people!
What we can do
We can learn from the Cuban people. We can organize ourselves democratically to fight for economic and social equality and basic human rights for all. That’s what the Cuban revolution was all about. We must begin to organize an independent party based upon the needs and rights of the masses of working people to the exclusion of capitalists.
This requires that we design and participate in a democratic decision-making process among ourselves. We have to come up with a way to educate ourselves, and come up with a plan of how we can use the profits of our labor to improve the quality of all our lives. We must organize society to satisfy people’s needs and wants and restore the health of our planet—to hell with profits for the wealthy elite.
We need to form an independent, democratically organized, mass working class party that has the power to challenge the rule of the “one percent” not just here in the U.S., but across the globe.
We need a party that is based on solidarity and unity among workers in our fight for economic and social equality and justice—a party powerful enough to overthrow capitalism, and actually establish socialism—a party that understands that an injury to one is an injury to all.
Basically, economic and social equality is democracy. Only through the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism can we finally achieve democracy, true freedom, economic and social equality, and justice for all.
We have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to win!